Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ServiceOntario: making it easier

Soooo . . . we brought along a car when we moved to Mississauga.  Among the many other things we need to register for - e.g. OHIP ("Ontario Health Insurance), our driver's licenses (Our NC ones were taken away from us), and sundry other things - we also have to register our Explorer with the province within 30 days of crossing the border with it.  Of course, what with the holidays and all the other rather important things we had been trying to accomplish since our arrival, we failed to realize this until we only had about 7 days of the grace period left.

And the scramble began:  namely . . . to find an authorized auto shop to test and certify our Explorer for safety and emissions (Ontario's standards are like California's); to get the required repairs/alterations made AND paid for; to make the repeat visit to the import agency with all our passports, Car Title, etc., in order to request still more forms and pay more fees; to get all 3 of us dressed and out the door for the early morning trip to the local "Service Center" to wait for our number to be called so that we could again prove we are all who we claim to be, live where we claim to live, own legally what we claim to own, . . . Oh, and get the details on a non-existent form that we supposedly should have gotten before coming to the Service Center.  So far, on the checklist of tasks to accomplish before the desired registration can be achieved, we are up to step number . . . 32, maybe?  (Not sure.  Lost count.):  go back home, hungry, tired and frustrated, to start our wild goose chase via phone for this mystery form 811-0DB-dot-11teen - the original kumquat-colored copy.  (I probably have mis-remembered what the lady at the Service Center called it, when she indicated that we needed one; but since no one else at the other agencies has ever heard of it, I don't feel the need to go look it up.)  Anyway, that step alone would take up the remainder of the morning.

The last few times we've visited anywhere to get some sort of original document certifying something, I've had to suppress the urge to ask, "Hey, while we're here, how about we fill out all the forms or certificates you have on hand, whether you think we need 'em or not - just to lesson the chances that we will be sent back to see you again?"  Because you can bet that whenever you take the time and trouble to read instructions and then go in person with all your original documents to register for something, there will be SOME ADDITIONAL FORM that no one mentioned to you before, and that is NOT listed on the government website or checklist of things that are necessary to get whatever the Hell you came for.

Needless to say, we have not yet gotten our car registered with the proper authorities.  I guess we'll have to take another crack at it some morning next week when Alex can arrange his work so he can while away another morning at a government agency's waiting room.

Alex says he has heard of other co-workers who have come over to work here and just never registered their cars, preferring to gamble that they wouldn't get stopped until near the end of their stay, so they could then pay the fine just before returning to the States.

Now we understand why this approach might be considered an attractive alternative.


  1. OY- I got tired just reading that. :) Good luck!

  2. Ah, Prince George's County ...wasn't quite as bad as that ...but close.

  3. ahh lovely! Sounds like they took some lessons from the Germans, at least you have website checklists and speak a similar language. ;)

  4. A Canadian initiation! Sure makes me wonder what the equivalent is in the US of A!

    Good luck on your next go round!